Navy Quietly Rescinded Rules Barring Unvaccinated SEALs From Duty: REPORT
( Daily Caller )
The U.S. Navy has quietly removed Trident Order #12, an order that prohibits Navy SEALs from training, deploying and conducting standard business should they choose to claim religious exemption for COVID-19 vaccines, according to Fox News.
Since November 2021, a group of SEALs has been fighting the mandate, arguing it infringes upon their religious freedom. However, the order was quietly removed in May, yet the legal teams of the 35 SEALs, currently involved in the lawsuits, became aware of the recession on Sept. 1, months after the decision, according to Fox News.
A May circulation of a communication order announced the roll back saying, “NSWC CLOSEOUT TO TRIDENT ORDER #12 – MANDATORY VACCINATION FOR COVID-19,” but it is unknown why the legal teams were not notified, reported Fox News.
The order was first implemented in September 2021 by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William Lescher and received major backlash, resulting in a group of SEALs filing lawsuits in district court which were heard in the Fifth Circuit Court in February. In January, a Texas judge, relying on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), temporarily blocked the Navy from considering vaccination status when making assignment decisions for the plaintiffs.
The Supreme Court in March upheld the order, saying the Navy could continue considering COVID-19 vaccination when scheduling deployments and assignments for SEALS.
Following the removal of Trident Order #12, the Navy “will continue to follow guidance, as appropriate, regarding COVID-19 vaccination, accommodation requests, and mitigation measures,” reported Fox News. The lawsuit has been amended into a class action lawsuit for all Navy service members seeking religious exemptions.
The Navy did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.